Journal Entry: Hometown, Nostalgia, and Trusting Our Hearts

We were fortunate enough to spend Labor Day weekend in our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. It’s been almost a year since Sam moved from TC to Chicago, and I’ve been in Chicago for about seven months. Moving from a town of 15,000 people to the third largest city in the USA was definitely an adjustment. We’ve learned to live a little bit differently—in some ways life is easier, in other ways it’s harder—but now that we officially feel settled in our new apartment, Chicago is growing on us.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog Pyramid Point Hiking at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog

Previously, every time we’ve visited home in northern Michigan, it wasn’t easy to pack up and drive south to Chicago. We missed the open roads, fresh air, public beaches, home-cooked meals, and patches of grass welcoming an afternoon snooze. Those drives back to Chicago were tinged with the feeling that, somehow, I wasn’t strong enough to make our lives work in Traverse City. Like I did something wrong in the five years we tried to establish a life in our hometown, and it was my fault that it never felt right living there. When a place is so beautiful and peaceful it must be easy to live there, and I just didn’t try hard enough to be happy.

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Labor Day Weekend in the Mitten

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope everyone’s gearing up for a long, relaxing, and fun-filled weekend.

This evening, I’m taking my first Amtrak train from Union Station here in Chicago to visit my best friend / college roommate Sarah. I’ll arrive too late on Friday to do much, but I”m already looking forward to spending all day with her on Saturday as she takes me around to all her favorite GR things. Plus, she has a new dog who I’ve yet to meet!

Sam is working on Saturday, so he’ll be swinging by Grand Rapids to pick me up after he finishes up. From there, we’ll head north to Traverse City and stay until Tuesday.

We sort of shifted the whole weekend a day, choosing to vacation from Saturday to Tuesday instead of Friday to Monday. It’s a well-known Midwest fact that trying to swoop under Lake Michigan while driving through Indiana at peak times during holiday weekends is the purest form of road trip agony. By traveling from Saturday to Tuesday, we’re hoping to alleviate some of those driving aches.

Plus, as an added bonus, we’ll get to be in TC on Tuesday after all the summer crowds depart, allowing us to enjoy summer up north the way we know it best. That said, we don’t really know what we’re going to do while we’re up there, but I already know it will be a good way to close out these summer months.

Whatever you have planned for the weekend, I hope it’s just what you need! As for me, you’ll find me on the water, in the sun, and totally blissed out.

Quick Tips for Updating Your Résumé (Today!): Awesome Job Alert


Hey, folks! For those of you who aren’t aware, I post content periodically on a website called Awesome Job Alert. If you live in the northern Michigan area, be sure to check out this incredible resource for “meaningful, impactful or unique job openings” in the region.

Here is one my recent posts about how to update your résumé quickly and painlessly. It’s good to do if you’re looking for a new job or just keeping your career paperwork up-to-date. Let me know what you think! 



Updating a résumé might be the only thing more agonizing than filling out a job application. Are your job descriptions too long? What font should you use? Oh, yeah, and what year did you get that certification, again?

In my most recent job search endeavor (which spanned 4-5 months) I rewrote my résumé a few dozen times. Every time I rewrote it, it was still awful. Tweaking a résumé is not fun, and I’m not going to lie to you and say it eventually becomes enjoyable because I don’t think that will ever happen. However, in the midst of all that editing, I learned a few quick tricks that helped me out along the way.

Continue reading on the Awesome Job Alert blog…

The Dirt of Life

dirt of life blog mo stych

I’ve officially moved out of our house and in with my parents. The house hasn’t sold yet—a few showings, no offers—but my move to Chicago seems likely to happen before the house sells. Overall, it makes a lot of sense: I can focus on things I need to do without worrying about trying to live a “perfect” life free of clutter, unopened mail, dirty dishes in the sink, an unmade bed…I’ve walked away from our house and I’m ready to move on.

It’s not, easy, though. I miss our house a lot. Sam and I lived three other places together prior to purchasing our home, but they all felt temporary. Nothing grounded us or felt like our own space until we finished renovating our house and lived in it as our home. Sure, it was a little strange at first to be homeowners and own a space foreign to both of us, but now it is the only place I think of when I say the word “home.”

At the same time, it doesn’t feel the same to be in our house without Sam. I only know the feelings of each room when he’s occupying them with me; I am familiar with his messes and can differentiate them from mine, and it’s comforting to know he has been somewhere near me. I’ve not had that feeling in nearly a month now. It’s hard to feel his presence in the kitchen when I’m cooking, or lurking in the office when I’m reading in the living room. The house isn’t our home without him there, and it felt uncomfortable at times to be living in a place alone where we’d always been together.

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Shifting Shapes in the Night



We’ve been working on our house steadily over the last 2.5 years (ever since we purchased it), but now Sam and I are working overtime to finish things up before we put it up for sale. Some changes are small and other changes are drastic, but each one is noticeable to us because we live in this space and have made it our own. Every day our house takes on a slightly new persona, donning a fresh coat of paint or a new space where a pile of rotting wood used to sit, moving closer and closer to its final form as our property.

The hardest thing about moving, for me at least, is selling our home. We debated for a long time as to whether we would sell or rent, but in the end, we decided that freeing ourselves completely of debt and severing ties with its ownership would be the best thing for us to do as we embrace our life in a new city. It’s been so good to us for the time we’ve lived there that it seems unfair to leave its fate up to renters who might not love it like their own.

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